After more than two decades of public awareness about the benefits of lumpectomy and radiation for most breast cancer, women continue to get double mastectomies, even when they only have cancer in one breast. Here’s a large study that followed a trend that continues today. http://journals.lww.com/annalsofsurgery/Abstract/publishahead/Growing_Use_of_Contralateral_Prophylactic.97018.aspx
The move to double mastectomy among American women, most of whom have early-stage breast cancer, continues, particularly among young women, raising concerns that two decades of public education about the benefits of lumpectomy and radiation are getting eroded. The high rates of re-operation after a first lumpectomy are part of the reason, which some surgeons are addressing by taking slightly more tissue to avoid another operation. The issue of repeat lumpectomies is an issue top surgeons say must be addressed if medicine wants to reach more women with the message that survival of women with lumpectomy and radiation is equal to mastectomy.
A new type of internal radiation, or brachytherapy, under study in the U.S. holds hope of shortening a woman’s radiation treatment for breast cancer to a single dose implanted during surgery. Now, radiation typically requires six weeks of daily treatment, an imposition for some women and a factor in many choosing mastectomy over a more sparing lumpectomy.
Radiation also is an important factor in good breast reconstruction outcomes. We will keep you apprised of any news about the effect of single versus standard dose radiation on reconstruction outcomes.
Fat-grafting, or liposuction, does not increase the chance of breast cancer recurrence, a study by a leading breast plastic surgeon says. Dr. Steven Kronowitz finds fat-grafting helpful in many procedures, including delayed breast reconstruction in women with radiated breasts, women who may face higher risks of complications from the procedures. We cover this topic extensively in our upcoming book.
NBC chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson greeted Sarah Erzen and her daughter, Katey, at the recent 10th annual benefit for two Henry Ford Health System breast cancer programs. Both Erzen, of Holt, MI, and Thompson were diagnosed with advanced stage three breast cancer tumors. Thompson encouraged women facing a breast cancer diagnosis to explore their options carefully, and to understand there’s no rush for reconstruction. Thompson underwent lumpectomy surgery, radiation and chemotherapy after her 2006 diagnosis. She saw no need for reconstruction or revision surgery to have two matching breasts. Thompson returned to work quickly after a week of crying and feeling terrified. She wore wigs and fake eye lashes to cover up what chemotherapy had taken. “I needed the work; I needed the distraction” during breast cancer treatment, she said, explaining why she returned to work quickly. The event at Detroit’s Ford Field was sponsored by the Detroit Lions.
Mastectomy now is more common than lumpectomy, a significant trend in the last decade, say Dr. Lisa Newman and Dr. Adeyiza Momoh, a top breast cancer surgery and construction team at the University of Michigan. It makes the decision about mastectomy versus lumpectomy particularly important these days, they say. These choices will be explored in our new book and on bcsurgerystories.com. Add your voice.